Being accused of criminal assault can be frustrating. We have all had times where our words or actions have gotten out of hand, where we have done and said something we regret. We hardly feel like criminals for making a mistake. However, the law takes any violence or attempt at violence seriously. One unfortunate moment could have you in handcuffs, booked into jail, and facing criminal charges. The situation becomes even more frightening if you are accused of harming or trying to harm someone with a deadly weapon. While prosecutors may be lenient on minor assault charges, they will not be easy to work with if you are accused of using a gun or other dangerous weapon. In these circumstances, prosecutors are likely to push for the harshest possible penalty as a high-level felony.
In response to being charged with assault involving a gun or other weapon, you need to contact a deadly weapon assault lawyer from Emerald City Law Group. This is not a situation you want to try and fight yourself, and your case may not receive the attention it deserves if you rely on an overworked public defender.
Washington’s Law Against Assault With a Deadly Weapon
If you are accused of harming or attempting to harm another person with a gun or other potentially deadly weapon, then you will face assault charges, either in the first, second, or third degree. Whether or not you have been arrested or indicted yet, you should contact a Seattle criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and defend you.
Under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9A.36.011, you can be charged with assault in the first degree if you, with the intent to inflict great bodily harm:
- Assault another with a firearm or any deadly weapon, or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death;
- Administer, expose, or transmit to or cause to be taken by another, poison, HIV, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or
- Assault another and inflict great bodily harm.
If you have been arrested or indicted for first-degree assault, you need to contact a deadly weapon assault attorney as soon as possible. Our Seattle criminal defense attorneys at Emerald City Law Group are ready to thoroughly investigate your case and defend you against overly aggressive prosecutors.
You may also be charged with assault in the second degree. Under RCW 9A.36.021, you can be charged with second-degree assault if, under circumstances that do not amount to a first-degree assault, you:
- Intentionally assault another person, and reckless inflict substantial bodily harm;
- Intentionally and unlawfully cause substantial bodily harm to an unborn child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother;
- Assault another with a deadly weapon;
- With intent to inflict bodily harm, administer or cause to be taken by another any poison or destructive or noxious substances;
- With intent to commit a felony, assault another;
- Knowingly inflicts bodily harm, which by design causes such pain or agony as to be torture; or
- Assault another by strangulation or suffocation.
In most circumstances, second-degree assault is a Class B felony. However, if there is evidence that the assault had a sexual motivation, you will be charged with a Class A felony.
Under RCW 9A.36.031, you can be charged with assault in the third degree for assaulting members of various professions, such as law enforcement officers, court officers, public transit operators, firefighters, and school bus drivers.
You also may be charged with third-degree assault if, with criminal negligence, you cause bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm. This is a Class C felony.
While second- and third-degree assault are technically lesser crimes than first-degree assault, they should not be taken any less seriously. Your response to any assault charge involving a firearm or other weapon should be to call a deadly weapon assault lawyer immediately.
What Is a Deadly Weapon?
Under RCW 9A.04.110: Definitions, a deadly weapon means:
- Any explosive or loaded or unloaded firearm, and
- Any other weapon, device, instrument, article, or substance, including a vehicle, which under the circumstances of how it was used or attempted to be used, is capable of causing death or substantial bodily harm.
If you are accused of having a gun on your person during an assault, this will count as a deadly weapon. The law specifically states that the gun does not have to be loaded. However, other objects, from knives to more mundane things, can also count as deadly weapons. For instance, a baseball bat, which is a typical piece of sports equipment, may constitute a deadly weapon in regard to a physical assault.
When you are being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, yet you believe there was no weapon involved, you should contact a deadly weapon assault attorney as soon as you can. If your attorney can successfully argue that you did not have a deadly weapon, this may lead to your charges being reduced and can lessen the potential sanctions, if you are convicted.
Statutory Penalties for Assault With a Deadly Weapon
After being accused of assault involving a deadly weapon, you may face charges for assault in the first, second, or third degree, which amount to Class A, B, or C felonies. The maximum penalties you could be sentenced to if convicted, are:
- Class A felony: Up to life in prison and a $50,000.
- Class B felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
- Class C felony: Up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
These are the longest terms of imprisonment and the highest fines you may be sentenced to for these felonies. However, you can also obtain lower sentences. You should speak with a deadly weapon assault lawyer about Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines and Sentencing Grid.
Minimum Possible Sentences for Assault With a Deadly Weapon
The potential term of imprisonment for a felony conviction depends on the Seriousness Level of the crime and your Offender Score. The Washington Sentencing Guidelines define each crime’s Seriousness Level. First-degree assault has a Seriousness Level of XII. Second-degree assault is Seriousness Level IV. Third-degree assault, except for assaulting a peace officer with a stun gun, is a Seriousness Level III. The higher the number, the more serious the crime and the higher the minimum penalties. The court will calculate your Offender Score, which is based on other current offenses and your criminal history. Your Offender Score may be between 0 and 9+, with zero being the least serious score.
For assault in the first degree, which is Level XII, you could be sentenced to 93-123 months, 102-136 months, 111-147 months, 120-160 months, 129-171 months, 138-184 months, 161-216 months, 178-236 months, 209-277 months, or 240-318 months, depending on your score.
For assault in the second degree, which is Level IV, you could be sentenced to 3-9 months, 6-12 months, 12-14 months, 15-20 months, 22-29 months, 33-43 months, 43-57 months, 53-70 months, or 63-84 months, depending on your score.
Deadly Weapon Sentence Enhancements
Your minimum sentence could be higher than these figures if a sentence enhancement applies to your case. You may face a deadly weapon enhancement which can add years to your sentence. For a Class A felony, a firearm adds five years for a first-time offense. If this is your second offense involving a firearm or other deadly weapon, a gun adds 10 years. For a Class B felony, a firearm adds three years for a first-time offense and six for s subsequent offense. For a Class C felony, a firearm adds 18 months the first time and three years for a subsequent offense. Other deadly weapons than firearms also increase your sentence but by a lesser amount than a gun.
Given all of the elements that could impact your sentencing, it is important to speak with a deadly weapon assault lawyer about the realistic outcome of your case. Having this information can also be helpful if you are interested in negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor.
Let a Seattle Assault With a Deadly Weapon Lawyer Help
Allegations of assault with a deadly weapon typically lead to felony charges. Whether you face a Class A, B, or C felony, you need to present a strong defense. If you are convicted of a felony, you will be forced to deal with numerous collateral consequences, including difficulty finding a job, immigration issues, child custody and visitation issues, and the loss of your right to own or possess a firearm. It is always important to work with a Seattle criminal defense attorney and strive to avoid a felony conviction. Our lawyers can also help you by negotiating a fair plea deal or preparing a defense that may mitigate the consequences of a conviction.
Call 206-973-0407 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Seattle criminal defense attorneys and personal injury lawyers are here to help. Call us at 206-973-0407 to schedule your free consultation. We are here to listen to your story and determine the strongest defense strategy available.
A Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
No matter the charges or accusations – You deserve an aggressive defense.
When people are ill-prepared for the criminal justice system or take their situation too lightly, the consequences are often dire and in most cases, permanent. By working with a King County criminal defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group, you can rely on a personalized and proactive approach to your case, so every issue is addressed and you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a crime in or around King County, Washington, Emerald City Law Group should be your next call. 206-973-0407